Brief updates, Christmas.
So, it’s been a couple weeks. I submitted my official thesis proposal just before the holidays, and had a good chat with my inestimable third committee member, who turned me on to some excellent papers. I’ve mostly spent the holidays catching up with old friends and spending time with my family, which has been nice. The next six months or so promise to be pretty busy, but also pretty science-y since I’ll be finishing my analyses, writing my thesis, and figuring out what I’m doing next year.
Christmas is an interesting time as an white, Christianishly-raised atheist in Canada. People assume, for example, that you’re Christian much more often during the season, in a way that can at times be reminiscent of this. It’s sort of what happens when someone talks to me about how they get so jealous when their SO flirts with someone else – a general assumption that you side with them because you aren’t visibly different. But you’re still very much a part of that culture, so Christmas feels like a fairly secular holiday to me, despite it being a religious holiday, just because it’s so normal for me to participate in it.
But the war on Christmas stuff doesn’t make it too far north of the border. Aside from a few poorly-informed people wearing “Keep the ‘Christ’ in Christmas” buttons and “You can say ‘Merry Christmas to me” t-shirts, we’re usually okay at recognizing that Canadian =/= Christian. The ‘Happy Holidays’ thing is pretty normal, especially since for many people the only significant thing between December 23rd and January 1st is a couple days off and a new secularized calendar year. Oh, and a lot of annoying music piped in over loudspeakers on the local high streets. I could do with less of that.
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m sort of parasitizing on the whole ‘sacredness’ of the Christmas holidays. Not doing much work, spending time with people, eating lots of food and lazing about… “It’s Christmas” is often a good enough excuse for behaviour that would get me in trouble otherwise, even on other holidays. I suppose I can thank Charles Dickens for that more than the Bible, though.